Category Archives: Ephemera

Facts in Five

Fallen Timbers edition…

Fear the "long knives"

Fear the “long knives”

  • The name Fallen Timbers was given to the battle because a tornado touched down a few weeks prior and knocked down hundreds of trees in a circular pattern
  • Mad” Anthony Wayne earned his nickname during the Revolutionary War; he ordered a night-time bayonet charge at the Battle of Stony Point in New York
  • Washington considered leading the third expedition himself (following the embarrassing defeats of Harmar and St. Claire) Anthony Wayne was considered a gamble by the military establishment.
  • Little Turtle urged his fellow chiefs to sue for peace following Wayne’s decisive movement north- Blue Jacket and the other warriors ignored the warning… The battle was over in minutes
  • The British commander at nearby Fort Miami had been providing shelter and supplies to Little Turtle’s army… the fort was not opened to the retreating warriors following  the battle.
  • The British cautioned Wayne, “Should you continue to approach my post in the threatening manner you are at this moment doing, my indispensable duty to my King and country and the honor of my profession will oblige me to have recourse to those measures…”

Wayne’s humorous reply, “…neither the fort nor its guns could much impede the progress of the Victorious Army under my command.”

Not so Mad after all

Not so Mad after all

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The Marble Model

Robert Edward Lee   January 19,1807-October 12, 1870

  • Renounces citizenship  April 20, 1861
  • Granted amnesty by President Andrew Johnson- October 2, 1865
  • Granted full pardon by Johnson- December 25, 1868
  • Citizenship restored by Act of Congress- August 5, 1975  

 “The greatest mistake of my life was taking a military education.”

“A figure lost to flesh and blood and bones, Frozen into a legend out of life, A blank-verse statue —… For here was someone who lived all his life In the most fierce and open light of the sun And kept his heart a secret to the end From all the picklocks of biographers.”  Stephen Vincent Benét

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Jefferson in Love….Sort of…

Jefferson struggled with his love for Maria Cosway…. going as far as to illustrate his emotional agony to her in a letter- the letter detailed the tug-of-war between Jefferson’s head and his aching heart.  Jefferson was perfectly content to remain within his head, buried in his books and letters.  But, as seen in the previous post, Jefferson was a man who cared and loved deeply.  Maria Cosway was a special woman, he knew he would never find another like her:

Dear Friend

Head: In fine, my friend, you must mend your manners. This is not a world to live at random in as you do. To avoid these eternal distresses, to which you are for ever exposing us, you must learn to look forward before you take a step which may interest our peace. Everything in this world is matter of calculation. Advance then with caution, the balance in your hand. Put into one scale the pleasures which any object may offer; but put fairly into the other the pains which are to follow, and see which preponderates…The most effectual means of being secure against pain is to retire within ourselves, and to suffice for our own happiness. Those, which depend on ourselves, are the only pleasures a wise man will count on: for nothing is ours which another may deprive us of. Hence the inestimable value of intellectual pleasures. 

Heart: This world abounds indeed with misery: to lighten it’s burthen we must divide it with one another. But let us now try the virtues of your mathematical balance, and as you have put into one scale the burthens of friendship, let me put it’s comforts into the other….In a life where we are perpetually exposed to want and accident, yours is a wonderful proposition, to insulate ourselves, to retire from all aid, and to wrap ourselves in the mantle of self-sufficiency! For assuredly nobody will care for him who cares for nobody.

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Nothing to Hide

The Lincoln administration arrested 14,401 people… during the Civil War.  Most were never indicted and denied a speedy trial.  Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus in September of 1861 allowed the detentions to happen.  Current Lincoln scholarship trends hold that Lincoln abused civil liberties and that his historical legacy must be drawn into question.  A closer examination of the statistics shows that modern researchers are using them merely for shock value and book sales.  Compared to other Presidents using the same powers- Lincoln’s actions are clearly justified.

Tyrant?

Tyrant?

John Merryman was not an innocent victim… of government tyranny as portrayed by Chief Justice Roger Taney.  Merryman led a detachment of Maryland militiamen in armed resistance to troops in Federal service.  Taney was a partisan Democrat staunchly opposed to Lincoln and supportive of secessionist doctrine.  Ex parte Merryman is not legal precedent at all and cannot be cited as such- it is a political document designed to hinder Lincoln’s attempts to protect Washington and preserve the Union.  It was issued by Taney alone- scholars often make the mistake of assuming that the Supreme Court concurred with the ruling.

 

Lincoln faced no mass opposition to these detentions… there were no mass protests, nor mob violence.  A closer look into the statistics shows that well over 80% of those arrested were:

  • from the Confederacy
  • Agitators in border states
  • Foreign agents supporting the enemy
  • Perpetrators of actual crimes against the Government
Remember Scott vs. Sanford? Didn't think so.

Remember Scott vs. Sanford? Didn’t think so.

Far from indiscriminate arrests, the detentions were almost always a direct result of an attributable illegal act.  Rose Greenhow WAS a spy and did pass secrets to the enemy.  Clement Vallandigham routinely denounced Lincoln on the floor of the House of Representatives and was never arrested for it- but when he publicly incited recruits to desert- he committed sedition and was arrested.

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The American Spirit

Madison argues that oligarchy is difficult in America because of our size and diversity… but critics consistently cited the House of Representatives as the most susceptible institution in the new government.

james-madison

Anti-Federalists argued that the Representatives would have the least amount of sympathy… with the masses of people; focusing exclusively on the narrow interests of their few electors, ignoring the will of the majority.  Madison first counters with a historical analysis of the British system and the necessary role of states in the Federal system.  But he concludes his argument in Federalist #57 by appealing to what he describes as the American Spirit:

 

“If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America — a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.”

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A Day to Remember

 

John Adams considered our independence a moment for all time. All the celebrations we enjoy this day can be traced to this letter sent to his wife shortly after the vote was held.

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells,Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).

Founding brothers

50 years after the momentous day, Jefferson still had strong feelings for the cause and the day. He was comforted knowing Americans continued celebrating the day.

” I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made….For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.” [22

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July 3, 1863

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Rising to the occasion is a concept so misunderstood… it borders on the cliché.  When used in the wrong context it cheapens actual heroic achievement.  Too often, historic deeds are overlooked because well-worn studies have rendered them routine because of historic scope.  In the pivotal battle of the war, at its decisive moment, actions speak louder than the words of any biographer…. as Confederate soldiers stormed over the stonewall at the “Angle”- decisive action was needed, and General Alexander Webb provided it.

The 72nd PA and Webb's charge

The 72nd PA and Webb’s charge

Alexander Webb received the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 3, 1863.  Webb’s brigade occupied the crucial position at the “copse of trees” which was the focal point of Lee’s attack.  Webb marched defiantly up and down his line during the fierce bombardment that preceded Pickett’s charge.  The confederates under Armistead  charged into Webb’s position and the two brigades were locked in deadly combat.  Seizing the colors of the 72nd Pennsylvania, Webb led a charge into the confederates  at the famous “angle” in the stone wall.   The two generals nearly came to personal blows as Webb’s counter attack brought them to within feet of each other.  Armistead fell mortally wounded while a ball passed through Webb’s upper thigh, but he remained on the field.  Webb describes the action in his report of the battle.  General George Gordon Meade nominated Webb for the Medal of Honor which he received in 1891.

Photo53038

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